Seniors Surgery Center: Helene Hill's Story

Helene Hill is Back to Tai Chi After Shoulder Surgery and Expert Care in the Seniors Surgery Center

Helene Hill | Joint Surgery | Seniors Surgery Center | Holy Cross Hospital | Silver Spring, MDHelene Hill wasn’t about to let a swollen, painful shoulder keep her away from the things she loves, like planting flowers, crocheting afghans and doing tai chi. When her doctor, Daniel Pereles, MD, orthopedic surgeon, recommended a shoulder arthroscopy, she knew exactly where she wanted to have her surgery performed—Holy Cross Hospital.  “I had been treated at Holy Cross Hospital in the past and I knew I would get great care there,” says the 73-year-old.

Expert Care for Seniors
From the specially trained staff to the quiet environment, non-slip floors and upgraded mattresses, Helene found that the hospital’s Seniors Surgery Center offered a high level of care. Everything about the center is designed to meet the needs of patients age 65 and older who are having surgery.   Another reason why Helene really liked Holy Cross Hospital was her anesthesiologist, Vanessa Fenner, MD.

“Dr. Fenner explained everything very well, kept me warm and comfortable, and I felt safe in her care,” says Helene.

“In some cases, anesthesia can affect seniors differently than younger patients so we closely monitor each patient to ensure their safety and comfort,” explains Dr. Fenner. “The personalized attention in the Seniors Surgery Center helps to make patients feel more confident and less anxious about their surgery.”

The Seniors Surgery Center is staffed with a highly skilled team of medical professionals with specialized training in geriatric medicine. The nurses are trained in the principles of NICHE (Nursing Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders), which helps them to be more sensitive to the unique needs of older patients while keeping them safe and comfortable.

Going the Extra Mile
Helene says that everything about her shoulder arthroscopy, starting with her surgical pre registration over the phone, went very smoothly. If she preferred, she also could have completed preregistration online.

“Every member of the staff who cared for me from the time I checked in until I left the recovery room was exceptional,” explains Helene. “My husband and my daughter were able to stay with me until it was time for my surgery,” she adds.

During her surgery, Helene’s family members were updated on her progress several times. Patients in the Seniors Surgery Center have extra time to recover in a peaceful environment, if they need it.

“Before I left the hospital, my nurse reviewed the discharge instructions in detail,” explains Helene. Dr. Pereles says, “The Seniors Surgery Center offers a quieter alternative to a big, bustling surgery department.”

Plus, since the chances of complications can be greater with some senior patients, it’s valuable to have the full hospital’s resources instantly available if they’re needed.

Dr. Pereles called Helene at home the day after her surgery to see how she was feeling and to find out if she was having any problems.

“I was very impressed that he called,” Helene says. Patients also receive a follow-up call from the Seniors Surgery Center to check on their progress and see if they have any questions.   

Helene was so pleased with the excellent care she received that she wrote a letter to Holy Cross Hospital, praising every member of the staff who attended to her that day. “I wanted to recognize how nice everyone was and how good they made me feel,” Helene says.